Author Archives: Joel D. Hirst

About Joel D. Hirst

Joel D. Hirst is a novelist and a playwright. His most recently released work is "Dreams of the Defeated: A Play in Two Acts" about a political prisoner in a dystopian regime. His novels include "I, Charles, From the Camps" about the life of a young man in the African camps and "Lords of Misrule" about the making and unmaking of a jihadist in the Sahara. "The Lieutenant of San Porfirio" and its sequel "The Burning of San Porfirio" are about the rise and fall of socialist Venezuela (with magic).

A Short Story Worth Dying For

Sometimes you stumble across something that is majestic. That’s what happened with “Farewell Aylis”, by Azeri novelist Akram Aylisli. Specifically, of this “Non-Traditional Novel”, the second short story – Stone Dreams. Stone Dreams is a story of an Azeri man … Continue reading

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3 Books To Change The Way You Think

One of the things about a pandemic, of which I hope you are taking advantage (as I am) is the ‘free time’ to read. Without our long commutes, with workloads somewhat reduced (so much of my job is meetings and … Continue reading

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“Apocalypse Never” – A Must Read

Does the sight of a dolphin make you sad? Does the gentle lapping of the sea only make you think of the plastic water-bottle in your hand? Does a sunset fill you with fear and panic? Do you look at … Continue reading

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To Be Burned Twice

“For, to be burned twice in one’s lifetime, is, after all, a rare distinction.” I recently finished reading Arthur Koestler’s two-part auto-biography, P1 “Arrow in the Blue” and P2 “The Invisible Writing”. Finished when he was only thirty-five years old … Continue reading

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The Suicide of California

Civilizations fail, and then they fall. That is the natural order of things. They fail because their ideas buckle; their discipline withers away; their common culture becomes brittle – an adhesive which no longer binds. Then they fall, a crash … Continue reading

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The Sadness of Hong Kong

“You need to visit Hong Kong” my parents would say. They were wont to go there; a waystop between the obsidian totalitarianism of Harbin and the nihilistic desperation of Nagasaki before heading into the ancient rotting darkness of Irian Jaya. … Continue reading

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Discovering A Great Voice

There is nothing more extraordinary, more exhilarating than the discovery of a great voice. A singular talent tucked away and unsung except for those who know, and those who search to fill that space within their souls that only is … Continue reading

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On 9/11

Remains true, so long as we remain optimistic: “We are sometimes naïve in our goodness – Americans are. It’s part of the nature of our life lived in a free society; part of our ‘social contract’ in which we each … Continue reading

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Soviet Short Stories

There are few like the great Russian masters. Perhaps its the harsh winters that encourage contemplation; maybe its the beauty of the Russian language itself, with its depth of tenses and tremendous descriptive power that encourages people to put ideas, … Continue reading

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As 2020 Unravels, Grab a Book…

As this year unravels, as the stories of tragedy and mayhem stack themselves up one atop the other in the cementing pressure of misery which we will carry with us, oh probably forever, I was thinking about the last 15 … Continue reading

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